Dear Marymount Community,
We have spent the last several weeks reading and reflecting through all of your comments, posts, and emails. We have heard you and are deeply sorry, especially to our Students of Color, particularly our Black Students.
Our Administration, Board of Trustees, and faculty and staff have gathered to have deep conversations regarding the issues that have been raised and will continue to do so, as we commit that Marymount cannot, and will not, be an institution that allows for injustices to be ignored. We have shortcomings and it is evident that we have failed many of our Black Students and Students of Color. Marymount is committed to ensuring that our environment is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, and we are working tirelessly to foster a school where no student – current or future – must navigate racial aggressions or injustices of any kind. Thank you for your courage and for holding us accountable, for not remaining silent, and for urging us to do more.
Black Lives Matter. It is undeniable that systemic racism exists deep within our society. As an educational institution, we teach our young women to become ethical leaders and global advocates - but it is abundantly apparent that we need education ourselves to address the systemic racism and inequity that exists within our own doors.
In addition to the Town Hall meetings that we will be holding with our alumnae, Les Anges (alumnae parents) and current families (RSVP information below), as well as meetings with our current students with our Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, today, I make public our ongoing preliminary action steps. Specifically, during the 2020-2021 school year, we commit to:
Strengthening our professional development and programming around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for our faculty and staff.
We will work with an outside strategist as well as our newly implemented Diversity Taskforce to incorporate, at minimum, quarterly mandatory anti-bias and anti-racism training sessions using Teaching Tolerance and Facing History and Ourselves’ programming throughout the year.
We will provide required readings and required professional development on anti-racism, anti-bias, and micro- and macro-aggressions to discuss during regular faculty and staff meetings.
Ensuring that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a priority throughout the entire curriculum and future programming.
We will examine our curriculum in all academic and co-curricular areas through an equity and anti-racist lens with the support of the Diversity Taskforce in order to determine holes in our teaching.
Focusing on the connection between identity and curriculum, we will actively implement teaching practices centered on acknowledging and dismantling racism and other forms of bias manifested in our curriculum with the intention to amplify historically marginalized voices.
Increasing education and programming around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and anti-racism for current parents and students.
Provide parent education on a quarterly basis through Thought Talks, speakers, and community gatherings.
In addition to our curricular changes, we will increase co-curricular programming for our students to include cultural competency, anti-racism, and anti-bias education through our four-year comprehensive advising program.
Increasing our efforts in recruiting students and faculty of color so that our community reflects and embraces the diversity of Los Angeles.
We will partner with StrateGenius, POCIS, and SoCal POCIS for the recruitment of faculty and staff of color. Additionally, we will be an active participant in yearly POC recruitment fairs.
We will require implicit bias training to audit and integrate anti-racist interview protocols and mechanisms in our recruitment efforts.
Offering robust affinity groups as a space to bolster conversation and collaboratively work with the Administration to implement change surrounding the experiences of Black Students and Students of Color.
In addition to our current alliance groups, we will offer Black Students and Students of Color affinity groups to allow for a safe space for open discussion; for example, Black Student Affinity Group, Latinx Affinity Group, Asian & South Asian Affinity Group.
Reviewing our disciplinary procedures and consequences to ensure that they are inclusive and equitable.
Our Parent-Student Handbook and Faculty and Staff Handbook will reflect our deepened anti-racist commitments and accountability protocols.
Marymount will continue to work with the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to review and revamp our policies and procedures for reporting of and response to incidents of bias and racism in our community.
We will not tolerate covert or overt acts of racism.
Diversifying Marymount’s Board of Trustees membership.
These are the first steps of many and not an exhaustive list as we put thoughtful reflection into a more robust and comprehensive plan informed by our education and learnings. This is a pivotal moment in our school's history, and while working on our comprehensive action plan, we will look to create an open dialogue throughout the process and receive input from the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, alumnae, current students and families. Additionally, in order to help our school in achieving these goals and facilitating impactful change, we are partnering with a strategist and mediator, Dr. Derrick Gay
, to help provide Marymount with insights and resources that we need to tackle these issues head-on. Dr. Gay has over 20 years working on issues of Diversity and Inclusion within independent schools as well as non-profit and business sectors.
To begin the dialogue, Dr. Gay will be facilitating two Marymount Virtual Town Hall events:
Wednesday, July 1 at 6:30pm
for Alumnae and Les Anges (alumnae parents): RSVP HERE
Thursday, July 2 at 6:30pm
for Current Parents and Students: RSVP HERE
An agenda for the Town Hall and a preliminary alumnae survey (with results confidential and only seen by Dr. Gay) to begin the conversation will be sent along with the Zoom link to those who RSVP prior to the scheduled virtual event.
It is abundantly clear that Marymount's Black Students and Students of Color have experienced tremendous injustices and trauma, and I earnestly apologize on behalf of our institution. I assure you that the listening will not stop - and we will take action. We will not stop our work until Marymount is truly a more equitable place, and every student, family, faculty, and staff member feels heard, valued, and seen.
Jacqueline L. Landry
Head of School